FOREST BATHING IN THE BEAR COUNTRY

A hike in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest is a chance to come face to face with bears and ethereal blue glaciers while slowing down and plugging into the therapeutic powers of the natural world

Hiking in the lush and inviting Tongass National Forest in Juneau, Alaska
The Tongass National Forest is a buffer against climate change, absorbing around eight percent of the nation’s annual global warming pollution and storing an estimated 10-12 percent of all carbon in USA’s national forests. However, it continues to be threatened by ongoing congressional attempts to clear-cut rare and valuable old-growth trees.

In the heat of idleness, I often envision myself in the middle of nowhere, lost in the deep, dark woods, full of magic and mysticism. Taking deep breaths to smell the fresh forest air and damp soil, placing my hands on the trunk of a tree, listening to the ambient sounds of birds, dipping my fingers in a stream to feel the chilled water and soaking up the sublime serenity, I am at the peak of bliss, calm and contentment. Such is the tonic called “nature”!

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“FALL”ING FOR QUEENSTOWN!

In fall, Queenstown puts on its best show, as though dressed for the red carpet. I rediscovered the essence of life through an autumnal trip to the alpine city
Rowa of lake-side houses in Queenstown
“Never let go of your window seat on a flight to Queenstown” is a quick advice given to me by a Kiwi as I am all set to board the flight from Auckland to Queenstown, a city in New Zealand’s South Island. And thank heavens, I heed the tip!

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FLOCK HERE FOR FALL FOLIAGE

Enhance your autumnal excursion by appreciating the romance of nature at these destinations that provide wonderful settings for leaf-peeping

QUEBEC, CANADA

Bridge over Canyon Ste-Anne
View the spectacular Canyon Sainte-Anne from the highest suspension bridge in Québec, at 60 meters above the gorge. A memorable sight in fall!

Head to Montréal and Québec cities – bustling metropolises with a perfect blend of poise, playfulness and history. The towns and villages here have English names, but everything else is French: language, lodging and food. In autumn, millions of maples turn red and gold. Treat your eyes to scenic landscapes by hiking the Parc national de la Jacques Cartier, go bird watching at Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area or Marais du Nord, kayak or canoe at Vallée Bras-du-Nord valley or get your fill of fresh air at one of the urban parks. Another highlight the “Magic of Lanterns” event at The Montreal Botanical Garden. Hundreds of hand-painted Chinese lanterns, floating on ponds and hanging from trees beneath starry skies offer a stunning eye candy on a bracing autumn evening.

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AUTUMN IN ANTWERP, BELGIUM

Every season has its own charm but the beauty of Autumn somehow leaves me speechless. Trees look radiant as they shun the greenery of summer and adopt the hues of fire – yellows, reds, browns and burnt oranges. This November, Belgium treated me to the most stunning fall foliage on the planet. I decided to simply sit in silence on a small wooden bench at the park opposite Leopold Hotel, Quinten Matsijslei 25 and submerge in the beauty of nature. The weather being just ideal, neither too chilly nor too warm, I wish I could sit there for hours staring at the landscape in idleness…

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